Monthly Archives: June 2017

PHILADELPIA, SHAKESPEARE, and GOAT CHEESE PIZZAS

Our son Cameron, the consumate actor, lives in Philadelphia PA. We traveled there yesterday to see his play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. All I have to say is WOW!! We were blown away. If you are in the area stop by, cop a squat, and enjoy. They are perfoming in Liberty Lands Park and it’s free.

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Philadelphia, known as the birthplace of American democracy. It was named by William Penn. Philadephia is Greek for “brotherly love”. The first capitol of our nation, home of the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the signing of the  Declaration  of Independence, the Eagles football team, the Flyers, and Boyz II Men. Philly is rich in history and the arts. A walk through the city is a breathtaking view of architecture at it’s finest.

It is also a haven for foodies with some of the best retaurants and chefs in the world. Did you know that Philly is famous for it’s cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, peeps, and Philadelphia cream cheese? It’s also home of the wing bowl, an eating competition that draws nearly 20,000 people. Who doesn’t love wings?

We had a fantastic meal at El Camino Real. Tacos and Margueritas all around for everybody. Very close to where our son lives and plays; in a very hip, up and coming neighborhood. Wahlburgers was directly across the street, sadly no sightings of Mark. I was hopeful!!!

You always look at your children and wonder if they are eating right and taking care of themselves. In an effort to ensure that, I told him I would start sending him some recipes that were easy. One of Cameron’s favorite meals has always been my goat cheese pizzas. Simple to make, light, few ingredients, and very tasty and filling. I figure that a starving actor can afford to make them too. I am posting this recipe in honor of him and his play. I hope you enjoy it too! By the way, Cameron is center stage in the red scarf!

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GOAT CHEESE PIZZAS

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil, 1/4 to 1/2 C
  • Garlic cloves, peeled, lightly smashed
  • Fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • Goat cheese, 1 log
  • Naan or flatbreads, amount depends on number you want to make
  • Fresh Basil, coarsley chopped
  • Salt, pepper, crushed red peppers, to taste

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees, place rack to 2nd lowest position in your oven.
  2. Brush the naan or flatbreads with olive oil and sprinkle some sea salt on the crust to taste. Put on the rack in the oven and pre-bake for about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Remove crust from the oven and with the smashed garlic clove, rub it all over the crust while still warm.
  4. Layer the tomatoes in a single layer all over the crust.
  5. Top with goat cheese, the amount depends on how much you would like.
  6. Put back in the oven and bake for an additional 7-10 minutes until the crust is crisp and browned, less if you don’t like it crunchy.
  7. Remove and top with the chopped basil.
  8. Salt and pepper to your taste and add crushed red peppers if you like a little heat.
  9. Drizzle lightly with additional olive oil.
  10. Cut into servings and eat immediately.

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It’s just that easy. It makes a great, light, summer meal or quick appetizer for guests. It also helps with those bounty of tomatoes that are soon to come.

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

 

 

 

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Harriet Tubman Museum & Shrimp Cobb Salad

Recently a new museum was opened in honor of Harriet Tubman and her endeavors to aid slaves in pursuing their freedom. It’s a beautiful facility, located in Church Creek, Maryland. It is also close to another landmark known as Blackwater Refuge. Well worth the visit for young and old.

Harriet Tubman was born in Dorchester County, Maryland in 1822. She was named “Minty” by her mother and also known as “Moses” to those she helped escape through the underground railroad.  “Tubman was beaten and whipped by her various masters as a child. Early in life, she suffered a traumatic head wound when an irate slave owner threw a heavy metal weight intending to hit another slave and hit her instead. The injury caused dizziness, pain, and spells of hypersomnia, which occurred throughout her life. She was a devout Christian and experienced strange visions and vivid dreams, which she ascribed to premonitions from God.”

(Excerpt taken from: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harriet_Tubman)

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“I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” Harriet Tubman

My brother Kirk, who now lives in Pennsylvania decided to bring his friend, Abby, and pay a visit to the museum. Since I live about 15 minutes away, I invited them to lunch when they were done. I myself am anxious to visit and will in the near future. Dorchester county is brimming with history and famous people. All stories for another time!

I love salads for lunch! My brother is watching his weight and Abby is basically a vegetarian. She does like seafood. How can you go wrong with shrimp and vegies?

I made a  shrimp cobb salad and a lemon basil salad dressing. Voiles’, lunch for four. There was plenty for all of us with some leftovers. It is quite a display when placed on a large platter. It would be just as pretty layered in a clear glass trifle bowl. Either way, it was delicious. Any seafood would work, pick your favorite and pile it up.

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SHRIMP COBB SALAD W/LEMON BASIL DRESSING

INGREDIENTS:

Lemon Basil Dressing (also known as Green Goddess)

  • 1/2 C light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 C chopped scallions
  • 1/2 C chopped fresh basil, packed
  • juice of 1 lemons
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1 t. fresh ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 inches of anchovy paste (do not skip this part, it gives it depth of flavor and does not taste fishy)
  • 1/2 C light sour cream

Oven Roasted Shrimp

  • 1 1/2 lbs small shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 t crushed red peppers

Cobb Salad (no eggs)

  • 6 C romaine lettuce, shredded
  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 ears of fresh corn, grilled and removed from the cob
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 C tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • juice of half a lemon
  • handful of fresh chopped parsley

Directions for the dressing:

  1. Put the mayonnaise, green onions, basil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and anchovy paste in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Add the sour cream and blend until just incorporated.
  3. Place in the fridge to chill. Can be stored up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

Directions for roasted shrimp:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Rinse the shrimp under cold water and pat dry.
  3. Place on a large sheet pan with the garlic, crushed peppers, salt, and pepper. (I like to line mine with non-stick foil)
  4. Drizzle the olive oil on top and using your hands, toss to combine all.
  5. Place in the oven and cook for 6-8 minutes. (small shrimp cook very quickly)
  6. Remove and allow to cool.

Directions for the salad:

Layer ingredients in the following order:

  • Lettuce
  • Beans
  • Corn
  • Red onion
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Shrimp
  1. Drizzle the 1/2 of lemon over the top of the salad, making sure to hit the shrimp and avocado, (it will prevent it from becoming discolored).
  2. Sprinkle the fresh parsley over the top.
  3. Use the salad dressing on the side and let everybody use the amount they want.

As you can see I used a large platter to layer mine. (Thanks Terry F.). It was quite the stunner. It requires a bit of prep work but a nice light summer meal. If you like eggs, by all means add them. One of my guests was not an egg fan. I think I will try it with crab meat next time. How about you???

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

 

 

 

HAPPY FATHERS DAY

On this Fathers Day I would like to honor all the Dads, Grandfathers, Stepfathers and father figures. It’s not an easy job! As they say, somebody’s got to do it! Here are a few of my favorites.

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I actually live with one that is pretty awesome. He is a fantastic father, stepfather, and grandfather. He has at times been a father figure when there has been a need. I have often wondered where he gets his calm and reserve from. He somehow manages to make it look effortless. I thank God every day that he is the father of our family.

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Some days you have to put the cape on and be Super Man. Every day you have to be a role model and set the example. After all, how would future fathers and mothers know how to step into their roles?

You guys are awesome! There is no way we could do it without you. You have the ability to make us feel safe, loved, and taken care of. Your footsteps are hard to fit into, but somehow you always show the way. It’s an endless job with a major responsibilty that is never ending. It has to be exhausting!

So……on this Fathers Day, know how much you are loved and admired. I hope all of you have a wonderful day and are shown just how much you are appreciated. Put your cape on today and soar high. Take a nap, drink a beer, be with the ones you love, but above all, continue being Super Dads.

We Love You to the moon and back!

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins (WW friendly) 4SP each

I have got to get better at this. I haven’t posted for a while, my apologies! Seems as though every waking minute is filled. My weekends in the summer are never dull. We are either boating, going to an event, visiting, traveling; know what I mean!  I also try to work two to three days a week and take care of my house. There’s always something to do. It’s just crazy hectic.

It’s been so hot here I have had to water my plants and flowers early morning and in the late afternoon. Today is threatening rain. I must admit, I am not upset in the least. I won’t have to worry about watering this evening, providing we get a good soaking. Keep your fingers crossed!!

I came in trying to think of something sweet and yummy but waist friendly. I found this old recipe and tweaked it a bit. It’s so easy! It can also be adapted with any cake mix, yogurt flavors and fruit additions that you desire. It just so happened I had a box of lemon cake mix. So lemon poppy-seed muffins it is.

They whip up in no time and are so moist and tender. Here is the recipe, try it and let me know your thoughts. If you come up with a good combination, let me know.

LEMON POPPY SEED MUFFINS

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 box Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme cake mix
  • 1 (5.3 oz)  container of Oikos Zero vanilla yogurt
  • 1 C skim milk
  • 2 T poppy seeds
  • zest of one lemon

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a 12 C muffin tin with liners and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  3. Combine all of the ingredients, stir until well blended and moistened.
  4. Using an 2 1/2 inch ice cream scoop, fill and place into the muffin cups. (It made 12 exactly. I used a rubber spatula to scrape all of the ingredients out of the mixing bowl.)
  5. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until tested done with a toothpick.
  6. Remove and let cool. ENJOY!!!!!

*These come in at 4 smart points each using the Weight Watchers calculator.

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Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

Book Club & Vegie Pizza

It’s always fun to get together with my girlies. We have been a book group for about 4 years and friends, it seems, for years. I have to say, our reading efforts are terrible. We do however, enjoy a glass of wine or two, and laugh a lot. I think one of our most infamous get togethers was 50 Shades of Grey. Now, that was a discussion and many bottles of wine!!!

This is a collage of our crazy group!

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This month we are reading a classic, Treasure Island. The inspiration came from the recent TV series, Black Sails. If you haven’t seen it and get the opportunity I highly recommend it.

Everybody brings a bottle of wine and some food, to pass and share. I made a cold vegie pizza; it’s one of my fav’s. I have lightened it up so I can really enjoy it. It was a recipe originally taken from a pampered chef party that I went to many years ago. If you don’t want to lighten it up, by all means use full fat products. It feeds about 8 people easily and either way is quite tasty.

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WW VEGIE RANCH PIZZA

32 servings at 4SP per serving

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 C plain non-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 C light mayonnaise
  • 1 (1oz) package powdered Ranch dressing mix
  • 2 (8oz) cans reduced fat Pillsbury crescent rolls
  • 1 C fresh broccoli, chopped
  • 1 C red pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely grated
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 C reduced fat (2%) shredded cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, yogurt, mayonnaise and Ranch dressing and beat on medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
  3. Remove crescent rolls from the cans, (I hate this part, those cans scare me when they pop..Haha).
  4. Roll out in one big piece onto a large cookie sheet that has either been greased or you can use a sil-pat (no added oils). Pinch the seams together as needed.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely.
  6. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the cooled crust.
  7. Top with the chopped vegies.
  8. Using a pizza cutter, or a large knife, cut into 32 squares.
  9. Serve immediately. (can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days.)

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

 

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